CHELSEA v WEST HAM
(Tonight, 8.45pm, SingTel mio TV Ch 102 & StarHub 227)
A year ago this week, Chelsea's title challenge began in earnest.
Jose Mourinho cut a despondent figure. He was tired, haggard and irritable.
His boyish grin was giving way to a permanent snarl. He was not getting his own way. And Mourinho must get his own way. There is no room for democracy in a domestic dictatorship.
The Blues had just been battered by Sunderland in the League Cup quarter-finals.
They lost a chance to grab some easy silverware. Mourinho lost too much face. Stamford Bridge appeared to be falling down.
Every other manager in the Premier League might be forgiven for pressing the panic button, rotating at random or splashing cash like shoppers in the Boxing Day sales.
Indeed other managers have panicked. Brendan Rodgers spent too much on sub-standard squad fillers.
Arsene Wenger didn't spend enough and Manuel Pellegrini didn't sell enough.
Even Louis van Gaal forgot to fortify his defence.
But Mourinho revels in adversity. He keeps his head when others in his profession are losing theirs.
The Portuguese coach went back to basics. He simplified. He made a mockery of electronic whiteboards and pundits pontificating beside touchscreens.
He followed in the footsteps of coaching pioneer Ron Greenwood who always advocated the same philosophy.
Simplicity is genius.
Lesser managers overcomplicate to compensate for tactical or motivational deficiencies, but Mourinho is never afraid to keep it simple. His ego is such that he doesn't have to bluff or bluster, or hide behind nonsensical jargon.
Rodgers likes to play the tactical philosopher. Mourinho plays the blue-collared plumber, the best in the business. He plugs leaks.
After the Sunderland setback, he took a monkey wrench to the squad and kept tightening until the leaks stopped. It really was that simple.
THREE KEY POSITIONS
Cover was added in three key positions - through the spine of the line-up. He bought Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic.
Collectively, those three signings are candidates for the most successful quick fix and squad overhaul in recent seasons.